Omakase San Juan City

Located in the bustling urban area of Greenhills Shopping Center is the home of fresh, affordable Japanese cuisine – Omakase. The restaurant opens at 11:30 am, closes at 2:30 pm, and re-opens at 5:30 pm. This allows for the restaurant to re-stock the freshest of ingredients.

This month in Secrets of San Juan, we are featuring an under-rated menu item: the Sushi Boat (Php910 before taxes)

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Set in a black lacquered boat, trimmed in red, the Sushi Boat is a delightful centerpiece that one would ogle and almost refuse to eat‚Ķ if not for the delicious freshness of its contents. This delectable dish serves up to 5 people and features a comprehensive variety of maki and sashimi – 32 pieces in all. This is best consumed with the Peach or Orange bottomless Iced teas in the company of fellow sushi loversūüôā

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Conrad’s Cafe

 

As the holidays wind down, you might want a quiet locale for a last-minute reunion with family and friends. San Juan offers the perfect venue for a relatively sequestered place that offers a quaint ambience and good food, tucked away in Pasadena street:

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Conrad’s Cafe is one of those little known restaurants in the city which offers a diverse menu:

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The restaurant offers cream dory fillet swathed in lemon butter sauce (above) and sweet barbecue chicken and pasta:

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The casual but comfortable dining is complemented by the laid-back but cozy interiors with paintings decorating the mauve wallpaper:

 

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Next time you are in San Juan city and are looking for a relaxed afternoon with good food and a calm ambiance, drop by #6 Pasadena St. (corner Santolan Road).

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The Quirky Bacon for a Quirky Christmas

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Curiosity has gotten the better of us when “Curiosity Got the Chef” host Sharwin Tee opened his own restaurant to the tune of his favorite ingredient.

The restaurant at 192 Wilson st. San Juan serves as the tableau for Chef Tee’s quirky recipes, largely peppered with bacon and hence the name, “The Quirky Bacon.”¬†It opened just last month, right in time for those intimate little reunions for family and friends which help perk up the Yuletide season.

BLT salad

 

Guests can begin their gastronomical adventure with the BLT salad – marinated pork belly topped with cherry tomatoes and drizzled with the sweet spiciness of lechon vinaigrette.

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The guava glazed chicken wings is one of those titillating fusion dishes where your basic chicken wings are given an extra special twist with Chef Sharwin’s signature glaze and sour cream.

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Chef Sharwin takes on what is arguably everyone’s favorite comfort food ¬†and comes up with a fusion dish sprinkled with social awareness: hand-cut fries served with adobo gravy and fresh white cheese from the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm.

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Chef Sharwin also ushers in, not only his, but what could be the Philippine’s answer ¬†to the cronut which has taken the world by storm this year: deep fried ensaymada dough, served with Horlicks ice cream and kesong puti from Bulacan.

A first glance at The Quirky Bacon’s menu tells you that the restaurant offers dishes that are familiar and well-loved but on closer scrutiny, one can find an enticing food trip in details and decor, in sauce and sense.

 

 

(all photos were taken from The Quirky Bacon’s Facebook page:¬†https://www.facebook.com/qbresto

 

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A Taste of Greece in San Juan

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Instagram has featured the interior of Greeka Kouzina, located at 285 P. Guevarra, San Juan City. One can see the delightful aura of this cosy little restaurant – which can quickly fill up when it’s open for lunch (11am-2pm) and dinner (starting at 6pm). Expect to wait 15 minutes to be served on a Friday evening as the restaurant does not take in reservations.

Greeka Kouzina may seem to be one of those hole-in-wall charming foodie restaurant but it actually rivals the pricier Greek restaurants in terms of the food:

 

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Moussaka, b√©chamel-drizzled grilled eggplant and beef dish, is one of the restaurant’s more popular sidings. It melts in one’s mouth to a creamy decadence.

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For the pasta lovers, this watercress pasta is a definite must-try – it is a perfect balance of texture and taste with parmesan sprinkled over fresh watercress and creamy noodles.

 

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The lamb shoulder is one of Greeka Kouzina’s best-sellers. Served with a special blend of spice and a fine mashed potatoes, the lamb is very tender and cooked to perfection. The sauce makes for a perfect complement to the taste of the lamb. Priced at a moderate 495 Php, it is good for two and comes with a choice of siding such as the Moussaka and the Watercress Pasta.

 

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For those who aren’t overly enthusiastic for lamb, the krasates or pork chops is a popular choice. Good for sharing, these pork chops are grilled to perfection¬†served with blue cheese walnut and their signature gravy. Similar to the lamb shoulders, it is moderately priced at 450Php and also comes with a choice of one siding.

 

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Now, if you think only adults can enjoy the more sophisticated palate of Greek food, have your kids try these¬†Greeka Patates Tiganites – Greeka Poutine which is basically fries layered with signature gravy and feta cheese. You may want to order a second serving of these fries as you’ll probably try to sneak a fry or two from your child’s plate.

From a cozy ambience and a wide range of authentic yet contemporary food, Greeka Kouzina is a definite place to try out if you’re swinging by San Juan City. Or do make the effort to visit the city to sample the gems of this little restaurant.

 

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The Salads of San Juan City

San Juan City is quite big on clean living – clear waters and fresh air. However, there is one secret of San Juan which promotes clean living to a whole new level.

Husband-and-wife team Jan and Robbie Celestial have been creating a menu of fresh salads and delivering them from free around San Juan City.

Their menu comprises of Kani Salad (with generous helpings of crabstick and dollops of Japanese mayonnaise) and Mango Dilis (tomato, cucumber and lettuce sprinkled with dilis) which comes with a sweet-tangy dressing, each for only sixty pesos.

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The menu also includes Catfish Salad and Taco Salad for only 65 pesos each.

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The salads are available for pre-order with customers texting Jan at least the night before at 09228603929. In order to ensure the freshness of the salads, they are delivered in a cooler by 9 am and each order is labeled with the name of the customer. As of August 2013, the couple are considering adding more salads and venturing into sandwiches.

So in San Juan City, healthy living entails eating right – or at least starting the day right with light yet delectable salads.

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June 2013 Feature: Barangay Captain Allen Silvano of Little Baguio

He is the hard-working and reliable pillar of Little Baguio, one of the most thriving barangays of the city of San Juan, Philippines. This June, get to know him beyond barangay projects, campaign sorties and crisis management and we see how deeply personal his relationship is with the city.

 

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Allen Silvano is known for his warm personality: his devotion to family, loyalty to friends and dedication to constituents is apparent in the beaming smile and buoyant stride. A lesser known facet about him lies in his close ties to the city he grew up in: San Juan.

When asked about his favorite childhood memories, Allen shares images only a little boy would enjoy: “The [now defunct] Chew Chew Junction which is a restaurant in Greenhills; it was designed [with the look and feel] of a train. I also remember the time when Dunkin’ Donuts would give free doughnuts at 8 pm. Kids would really show up [at the corner of Ortigas and Club Filipino Ave].”

 

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By the time Allen talks about hanging out with his Xavier barkada¬†in the old Virramall (now remodeled as VMall) every Wednesday (“half day¬†kasi kapag¬†Wednesday¬†noon sa Xavier“), one begins to sense how San Juan is an indelible part of him. His childhood and teenage years were pleasant days and they also reflect the homey vibe of the city.

Allen also named the famous Aling Banang’s as his favorite hang-out – and with the restaurant’s delicious¬†pancit malabon and¬†tapsilog, it comes as no surprise. He stresses though that he also appreciates how a wide range of people – from the lower to upper-middle class – flock to Aling Banang’s for a quick fix of Filipino favorites.

As barangay captain, Allen may also be at the helm of what has been dubbed “a city of excellence” when San Juan was awarded the Top Performing Highly Urbanized City in the Philippines in 2011. With its penchant for business (the world famous¬†tiangge¬†in Greenhills) and celebration of cultural pursuits (among them, the San Juan Wattah Wattah festival), Allen believes that San Juan is a must-see for the tourists. But more than the tangible highlights, Allen stresses the importance of San Juan’s history and its link to the country’s past.

 

Pinaglabanan

The Battle of Pinaglabanan, he muses, was especially important. “The Filipinos planned to take over¬†El Deposito¬†(water reservoir) which provided water in Manila and¬†El Polvorin¬†(gunpowder and ammunition) of the Spaniards – which were both in San Juan,” he explains. What came to be known as the Battle of San Juan del Monte (Pinaglabanan) is widely considered to be the first battle of the Philippine Revolution. Allen sums it up by quoting a favorite San Juan motto, “Walang kalayaan kung walang Pinaglabanan.”

And so Allen Silvano proves that he is truly born and bred a son of San Juan – from his childhood to his calling to be one of its leaders. His pride in its history mingles with his joy in the city’s modernization – and in that we see the essence of San Juan’s mix of tradition and innovation.

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June in San Juan City

Every  24th of June, San Juan celebrates the feast day of St. John the Baptist (San Juan Bautista).

 

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The city’s devotion to the last prophet goes way back to an 1894 Royal Decree by the Spanish Vice-Royal Patron of the Philipines which established the parish of John the Baptist. Over a century later, the city celebrates the feast day with a festival that baptizes the city in water: the Wattah-Wattah.

 

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While commuters are alerted to the possibility of getting doused with water and advised to take other routes to work, the festival highlights the city’s desire to keep traditions alive.

 

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